Graduate Courses, Spring 2012

Italian 537
Boccaccio Visualized

Prof. Kirkham
T 0130PM-0430PM

More than any other early modern European author, Giovanni Boccaccio has inspired artists to visualize what he wrote, from Botticelli to Rubens, Angelica Kaufmann to Marc Chagall. The manuscript era alone has left us more than 8,000 images, and with print culture, Boccaccio’s tales and histories multiplied through woodblock and engraved reproductions. In our own time his fiction has been the subject of cinema, notably Pasolini’s Decameron, but also other media in popular culture--even the “classic” comic book. In this course we will consider the question of why Boccaccio’s literary art is so readily “picturable“ and explore its interaction with the visual arts, beginning with the portraits of him (including a self-portrait) and the remarkable corpus of drawings by Boccaccio himself as the first representative in a tradition of talented figures who, like Michelangelo and Cellini, practiced both as artists and poets. Visualizations of the text become not only pictorial commentary complementing verbal glosses, they tell much about the history of its reception, from the sociology of its readership to issues of censorship. Half of the course will be devoted to close readings of the Decameron, and the other half to the humanistic Latin works that circulated internationally and produced magnificent court art in Northern Europe--The Falls of Princes, Famous Women (the first collection of female biographies in the west), and Genealogy of the Gentile Gods, with its influential mythography and theory of poetry. The course will aim to present a methodology that students can apply to other authors in research and teaching. Taught in English with original language texts available on reserve, it has no prerequisites and is open to undergraduates by permission of the instructor.


Italian 601
The Priest, the Monk, the Nun in Contemporary Narrative

Prof. Finotti
M 0200PM-0400PM

Priest monks and sisters dwell in literary texts quite comfortably, beginning with Boccaccio’s Decameron. But, what is their destiny in our desacralized age? Are they the new wanderers, do they live as foreigners in a world of people who do not recognize them any more? From Lewis to Manzoni, from Bernanos to Chesterton, from Fogazzaro to Parise, priests, monks and nuns still inhabit our literature, art, cinema, as a sort of uncanny presence. The course will be conducted in Italian. Undergraduates may register with permission from instructor.


Italian 603
Plurilingualism in Italy and Beyond. Sociolinguistic Varieties of Italian Across Time and Space (in Italian)

Prof. Haller
F 0200PM-0400PM

The course will introduce the students to the plurilingual realities of contemporary Italy. We will describe the principal sociolinguistic varieties and study the transformations that took place following the country’s unification from a largely dialect-speaking society to a population made up of bilinguals and of monolingual speakers of Italian. The formal properties of varieties in the Italian / dialect continuum and their gradually evolving social uses will be illustrated in spoken and written communication. We will discuss the concepts of Standard and regional Italian, and analyze specific features of technical languages, popular Italian, gergo, the language varieties of young generations, and the languages of the mass media. Sociolinguistic variation will also be studied in selected literary and non-literary texts of earlier periods, and with a focus on more recent plurilingual narrative prose. Part of the course will be dedicated to the role of Italian within today’s Europe, and to the history of Italian in the United States, both as a language of emigration with its different evolution outside Italy and in its contact with English particularly in the North American context. The course will be taught in Italian; however, students with a good passive proficiency in Italian may do their work in English.

Texts: Alberto A. Sobrero, Introduzione all’italiano contemporaneo. La varietà e gli usi
(Roma-Bari, Laterza) (text to be purchased); Lorenzo Coveri et al., Le varietà dell’italiano. Manuale di sociolinguistica italiana (Roma: Bonacci); Hermann W. Haller, Una lingua perduta e ritrovata. L’italiano degli italo-americani (Firenze: La Nuova Italia); Manlio Cortelazzo, Carla Marcato et al., I dialetti italiani. Storia, struttura, uso (Torino, UTET); Massimo Vedovelli, Storia linguistica dell’emigrazione italiana nel mondo (Roma, Carocci).


Italian 690
Language Teaching/Learning

Prof. McMahon
W 0200PM-0400PM

This course is required of all Teaching Assistants in French, Italian, and Spanish in the second semester of their first year of teaching. It is designed to provide instructors with the necessary practical support to carry out their teaching responsibilities effectively, and builds on the practicum meetings held during the first semester. The course will also introduce students to various approaches to foreign language teaching as well as to current issues in second language acquisition. Students who have already had a similar course at another institution may be exempted upon consultation with the instructor.